Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. The other day, I was at the gym that I work out of, and I overheard a conversation between a personal trainer and their client. It went a little bit like this.
Client: “So you know that I have hip problems. And so I can't really train this area. I need to avoid working out anything directly related to this hip. Um, in fact, even being on this bike is making me a little uncomfortable.” The client was sitting on a recumbent bike which is a stationary bike where your feet are out in front of you.
That's why my little physical therapy ear perked up because a recumbent bike is low stress activity for somebody with a hip issue. This interaction made me think about how many people that I know personally and professionally that have left physical therapy, still believing that their joints or their body parts are just junk. They are left thinking that there's no goods coming out of that body part and that they have to avoid using it at all costs. They ended up limiting all the things that they want to do in their life.
I mean, honestly, that could be anything from a general hip problem to somebody who had a hip replacement. It is sad when people go through all the stress of having a hip replacement only to still have issues six months later; thinking this hip is junk and/or saying this hip doesn’t work.
To me, that's a failure, on the physical therapy side of life. I just wanted to go over some of the things that I think people should be getting out of going to a physical therapist.
If you go through all the effort of seeing somebody for the sole purpose of fixing a body part. Then at the end, you should feel like you've got a heal body part.
First, we (physical therapists) should help you get rid of your pain.
Things could be a little achy occasionally, but on a day-to-day basis, you should not have huge amounts of joint pain in the area that we're supposed to be helping you heal. If you come in for your hip when you are done with physical therapy, that hip shouldn't be a problem. I mean, that's the whole point of coming BUT that's not where we should stop either. Because the only reason you come is for joint pain reduction, then why wouldn't you just go buy some Tylenol?
Second thing I help people with everyday is healing that injured tissue. There's a reason that there was pain in that hip. (I keep referencing the hip for this example but really any joint or muscle) So if you have a hip problem and we're working together, then you, we should first get rid of your hip pain and then we help you heal whatever it was that caused the problem.
This is possible even if there’s something inside your joint that is causing your pain. You'd be surprised how many people have labrum tears that have no hip pain because they worked on other things to help support their hip. After strengthening and stabilizing their hip the labrum tear isn't really an issue for them anymore. Healing the tissues to support that hip is another big part of what I do.
Then the third part of your journey with a physical therapist should be that you are comfortable with how to continue strengthening yourself. Which will allow you to continue having no hip pain and to continue on towards being able to do all the things in life that are worth doing. Just not having hip pain, but being afraid to walk around your house. Not having hip pain, but being afraid to go on that hiking trip with your family.
That's not really living. The idea is to get rid of the hip pain and have enough confidence and enough strength and enough stamina and enough balance and enough everything else to help you go back to dancing. To help you go back to hiking. To help you get back into the gym and go see a trainer and say this was a problem. So I'm going to be a little leery at first when we do things. But the goal is to get this hip back up and running. I want to strengthen this and my physical therapist gave me these exercises. Can we progress on them? And that way it's not just you going to the gym to help yourself get fit and healthy, only to avoid whatever other body part of it is that hurts.
So if you finished therapy and you're still thinking, “Hey, you know what? This back is junk. I can't do anything.” Or if you're thinking, “I just can't do these things because of my hip” or my back or my, whatever it is, then perhaps you need to find somebody who will work with you to help you build up that confidence.
Especially if you're only 40 or 50 years old, that is not the end of life. We still have so much more to go and you should not feel limited by random joint pain at all. There is a way to make it through to the other side. There is a way to not just not have pain, but to get back to all the great things that there are to do. AND there are so many adventures in the city of Houston that you should not be missing out on.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald